Green Turtle Cay 101: An Introduction

Recently, I’ve received a number of emails from folks wanting to know more about visiting Green Turtle Cay. This post is the first in a series entitled Green Turtle Cay 101: A Guide to Getting Here, Staying Here and Enjoying all that Green Turtle Cay Has to Offer.

Junkanoo Performers

Local schoolchildren perform at Green Turtle Cay’s Island Roots Heritage Festival, held each May.

If you visit the Bahamas and don’t get any further than the cities of Nassau or Freeport, you’ve really only scratched the surface. For a truly authentic Bahamian experience, you need to visit one of the country’s out islands, also known as the “Family Islands.”

Island HouseAs you’ve likely surmised, my favourite family island is Green Turtle Cay, because quite simply, it’s the polar opposite of Nassau or Freeport.

There are no duty-free shops or noisy casinos, no high-rise chain hotels or American fast-food joints, no cruise ships or smoke-belching Jitneys, no Bay Street peddlers hawking cheap t-shirts.

Instead, there is peace. There is privacy. There are pristine (and often deserted) beaches, charming locals, bikes and golf carts for transportation and more stars at night than you could ever count. There’s a vigorous domino game in town, rake-and-scrape music at sunset, local kids shooting hoops (you’re welcome to join in), home-baked coconut bread at the local grocery, and conch salad chopped fresh while you watch.

Parliament Street 2

Parliament Street in the settlement of New Plymouth

Founded in 1786 by Revolutionary War Loyalists, and named for the green turtles that once were plentiful in its waters, Green Turtle Cay lies three miles east of Great Abaco, Bahamas and 170 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida. Perched on the southwestern end of the cay is New Plymouth, a sleepy settlement with narrow streets and neat rows of pastel-painted clapboard houses.

Lizard Bar & Grill

Poolside at the Lizard Bar & Grill

For a small island (it’s three miles, end to end), Green Turtle Cay offers a surprising array of amenities, including two small resorts, several marinas, a half-dozen or so restaurants, three small but well-stocked grocery shops, two liquor stores, a boat yard, a post office, an art gallery, a museum, a dive operator, several fishing guides, and boat, golf cart, paddleboard, snorkel and SCUBA gear, kayak and bike rentals.

Snorkeling at Munjack Cay

Snorkeling north of nearby Munjack Cay during a day trip with fishing guide, Lincoln Jones.

Green Turtle Cay is a welcoming, low-key destination that’s ideal for couples, safe for singles and incredibly family (and pet) friendly.

Wrigley at Gillam Bay

Our dog, Wrigley, enjoying one of Green Turtle Cay’s beautiful beaches.

Next in the GTC 101 series: Getting Here


  19 comments for “Green Turtle Cay 101: An Introduction

  1. Ann Marie Hanson
    January 21, 2014 at 8:22 am

    I love Green Turtle Cay. Great food anywhere you go. The bakery in town is a must. And nearly every night you can dance to The gully Roosters somewhere on the island!

    • January 21, 2014 at 8:57 am

      Hi, Ann Marie. Thanks for your note. The great food and the Gully Roosters are certainly two of our favourite parts of GTC as well! 🙂

  2. Chéri Petters
    January 21, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Great stuff, Amanda! I’m working on it (coming to GTC that is!).

  3. ericka browne
    January 21, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I went one time with my girls, had the best time of my life and can’t wait to go back ago, the people are extremely warm and welcoming and the 360○view is amazing

    • January 23, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Hi, Ericka. Thanks for your note! Yes, Green Turtle Cay has a way of calling you back. 🙂 Hope you make it back one day soon.

  4. January 21, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Brilliant, Amanda. May I plan a GTC page, incorporating your posts, duly credited? For blog-based reasons I can’t simply reblog, I’d have to create a dedicated page and copy onto it. What do you think? RH

  5. January 21, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Love this post Amanda! I’d love to visit one day.


    • January 23, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      Thanks, Shelley. Would love to have you experience GTC for yourself one of these days. I think you’d have a ball.

  6. January 22, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    If you don’t know the Out Islands, you don’t know the true Bahamas! A journey out there may change your life!

    • January 23, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      SO true! And it’s amazing how each Out Island has a slightly different personality. There really is one for everybody.

  7. January 23, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Fabulous post. Hope to see it one day.

    • January 23, 2014 at 2:13 pm

      Thanks, Sherry! Glad you liked it. And hope you’ll get a chance to visit GTC one of these days. It’s an amazing experience.

  8. Gloria
    February 13, 2019 at 9:47 am

    Here’s our special Cay for our warm vacations🐢💙🏝

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